Sony Electronics will discontinue producing rear projection televisions based on 3LCD and SXRD-based products according to a Sony press release filed yesterday. They said this was due to the high consumer demand for BRAVIA flat-panel LCD televisions, combined with the accelerating industry trend toward flat panel displays.
Insight Media Consultant
Sony said: "We are moving our resources more toward LCD TV, because that’s what people really want," a Sony spokesman said, confirming a published report. The company began telling select retailers about the decision following several months of study, the spokesman said, adding that Sony will continue selling front projection products through its custom home theater division.
The decision came despite the fact that Sony ranked second in the category for sell-through, with 28% of the U.S. market through November, behind Samsung, according to The NPD Group. Sony rear projection sets were also No. 1 in shelf-share at 31.77% in November, according to Current Analysis West, an NPD Group company.
Sony’s decision comes as the market for rear projection products continues to compress under advances in flat-panel TV technologies to larger screen sizes and ever-declining prices.
DisplaySearch, an NPD Group company, forecasts North American sales of 1.6 million rear projection sets in 2007, down from 3.1M in 2006. The firm is calling for total rear projection sales of about 670,000 in 2008.
Sony’s decision to drop the rear projection category to focus on flat-panel TV follows similar recent decisions by Philips, Toshiba and Hitachi, and leaves Samsung, Mitsubishi, RCA, Panasonic and JVC as the major players in the segment just as new laser illumination technologies are coming on-line.
Manufacturers remaining in rear projection are now moving to larger screen sizes, offering a better value than either plasma or LCD flat-panel sets.
So even with a strong standing in the market, Sony will discontinue its rear-projection TVs to focus on the hot-selling LCD segment as the days of traditional TV technology are numbered. As consumers increasingly look to LCD and plasma technologies for their next TV purchases, CRT and rear-projection are falling by the wayside, and manufacturers are beginning to respond to the slow sales.
I have no idea how much stock of RPTVs Sony has around the world, but it’s possible there could be some bargains to be had, if you’re happy to take the risk of buying into a discontinued technology. But with Sony being one of the companies pushing research into new types of TV displays, such as OLED, perhaps it’s not surprising that something had to give. Sony already ditched their plasma production line three years ago to focus on LCD and rear-projection. That the company is focusing solely on LCD is an indicator of just how dominant the technology has become.
NOTE: Due to the holiday, There will be no Display Daily on Monday, December
24 or Tuesday, December 25. Happy Holidays!!